Jobless diamond polishers return to agriculture

As the state’s diamond industry continues to suffer losses in the wake of the global financial crisis,thousands of diamond polishers,who have been rendered jobless,are going back to agriculture.

Written by Sibte Husain Bukhari | Junagadh | Published: January 4, 2009 1:22 am

As the state’s diamond industry continues to suffer losses in the wake of the global financial crisis,thousands of diamond polishers,who have been rendered jobless,are going back to agriculture.

Over 300 diamond units have downed their shutters in the district,leaving more than 25,000 workers jobless. According to diamond unit operators,in Junagadh alone 125 units have shut down. Unit owners say they do not have rough diamonds,and moreover,there is no demand for the polished ones.

D K Zalawadia,president,Junagadh diamond association,said,“Post-Diwali,the situation has gone worse,as a result of which,95 per cent of the units have shut down.”

This,Zalawadia said,has forced the diamond workers,mostly from villages,to shift back to their original work as agriculture labourer. However,there too,not much work is left as the Kharif season is about to get over.

Bharat Patoliya (22),a resident of Morwada village in Bhesan taluka,was working in a village diamond unit,which is closed since Diwali. “In the absence of work in the diamond unit,I have no option but to work as a agriculture labourer. However,it is difficult to find work in an agriculture field every day. Diamond workers are struggling for job,” he said.

According to Bharat,hundreds of villagers are jobless for the last couple of months. Zalawadia said the annual turnover of the district’s diamond industry was nearly Rs 50 crore.

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